Rieko Ioane - Photo by World Rugby - Handout/World Rugby via Getty Images)
The All Blacks' next World Cup game against Italy has been called off, due to a typhoon that is due to hit Japan on Saturday.
World Rugby have made a statement today, saying:
"After extensive evaluation, World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee have announced an update regarding the predicted impact of Typhoon Hagibis on this weekend’s Rugby World Cup 2019 pool matches. This includes the decision to cancel matches on safety grounds.
Based on the latest detailed information from the tournament’s independent weather experts, Hagibis is predicted to be the biggest typhoon of the 2019 season and is highly likely to cause considerable disruption in the Tokyo, Yokohama and Toyota City areas throughout Saturday, including likely public transport shutdown or disruption."
As well as the All Blacks Italy game being called off, the highly anticipated France v England game in Yokohama has as well.
While a huge call, the decision to cancel the two games will not mess up the draw too badly. The All Blacks, England and France would all still make the quarterfinals. South Africa will be the other team to qualify from Pool B.
However, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Scotland's decider against Japan is expected to go ahead in Yokohama 24 hours later. World Rugby will confirm the status of that match on Sunday morning.
Japan will qualify top of the group should they win with Ireland in second place if they defeat the Samoans.
According to the Japan Times, Typhoon Hagibis, which tracked near the Ogasawara islands through Wednesday: "is forecast to continue moving toward Honshu [Japan's largest and most populated island], weakening only slightly before a possible landfall on Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
More precise forecasts for its path are still difficult, and a turn to the west toward central Japan or the east toward the sea remain among the possibilities.
However, its large size means that areas not facing a direct hit could still be significantly impacted. Speaking during a news conference Wednesday, a Meteorological Agency official urged caution against heavy rain, strong winds, high waves and storm surge."